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Trikes: Mad choice or fun alternative?

Published: 15 September 2017

Updated: 09 May 2017

It was a reader’s query that got me thinking. He was asking should he buy a trike? Specifically, a new Harley-Davidson Freewheeler, reduced in price from about £23k to £20k.

Trikes are very niche. There’s lot of ‘sidecar appeal’ about them, in that sometimes the reason for buying one is the same as the reason for buying a sidecar outfit - their owners/riders have suffered a motorcycle accident and lost the use of a limb, or only have partial use, or simply can’t risk damaging (for example) their legs again.


Others buy them simply because they like the style, and the motorcycle controls. You also get the lunatic factor creeping in (I’ve yet to meet a sidecar fiend who isn’t deranged) and trikes are much harder to find than outfits. Many are home-built, or built by professional customising houses. The former can be dreadful aberrations, frequently based on a Reliant three-wheel car, and the latter are very expensive.

Purpose-built ones are few. I can only think of the Ariel Three of the early 1970s, and things like the small-capacity Honda Stream and Canopy, which is used as a delivery vehicle in parts of Asia. I’m taking a trike as something with one wheel at the front, by the way, and two at the back, which rules out those Piaggio three wheelers and the Can-Am Spyder.

Fundamentally, yes, they are worth buying. There will always be someone looking for a good trike, the way there is always someone looking for a good sidecar outfit - especially a Harley trike, or a really professional custom-built job. Fifteen grand seems to be starting money for a nice used Wing trike and I think they’ll hold their value. The rules of supply and demand are king, as always.

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